Did you even have the slightest inking that come every monsoon, there is an “umbrella” war in Kerala? And there are the weirdest kinds of umbrella’s – right from those have a GPS, another one torch, thermometer, compass, whistle, reversible umbrellas, Teflon-coated umbrellas, ultraviolet-shielding umbrellas and even those with water guns. This year, along with GPS, they have bluetooth umbrellas and selfie-stick umbrellas.
It all began in 1954 when Alappuzha based Thayyil Abraham Varghese founded St.George umbrellas; it monopolized the market and till his death in 1968 there was simply no one else. And then in 1995, there began the battle for his legacy between two brothers with each having his own brand - Popy from Davis Thayyil and John’s from his cousin Joseph Thayyil.
Every year they try to outdo each other and come up with innovative umbrellas; the people of the state have since then been enjoying, every monsoon bizarre and interesting inventions. Over the years, the rivalry exists but the brothers are now on talking terms with each having established their niche - Popy caters to an expensive range while John’s caters to the mass market.
Well, next time you visit Kerala, you know what to look out for?